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Figure Skater Max Aaron Scores Big at World Championships

Scoring a new personal best, American Jewish figure skater Max Aaron was part of a trio that landed the U.S. skaters in the top ten at the ISU 2016 World Championships.

The six-day international event was held from March 28 to April 3 at the TD Garden, the first time in its 130-year history that the world competition was held in Boston.

Spain’s Javier Fernandez won the men’s gold medal and Russian skater Evgenia Medveda won the gold in women’s skating. American Ashley Wagner skated to a silver medal, breaking a decade-long dry spell for the U.S. in women’s figure skating at the world championships.

Aaron, a national champion, scored 254.14 points and placed eighth overall in his third appearance at a World Championship.

Aaron’s top performance in Friday night’s free skate competition was beat just moments later by reigning U.S. champion Adam Rippon, who finished in sixth place overall. Rippon set a new U.S. men’s scoring record at a World Championships.

While the U.S. men’s total scores fell just shy of securing the maximum of three places for the U.S at the next World Championship, their strong showing means the U.S. team has two spots.

“This is truly special. It’s a moment I will never forget. I’ve always wanted this on home soil,” Aaron said in a statement from the TD Garden. Aaron, 24, from Scottsdale, Arizona, trains in Colorado Springs, Colorado, with coaches Tom Zakrajsek and Becky Calvin.

Aaron opened his program with a solidly landed quad salchow/triple toe loop combination, according to Boston Globe reporter Shira Springer. He skated to music from the score of “Black Swan,” by Clint Mansell.

“Max produced as good a long program as I’ve ever seen from him,” Springer told JTA in an email. “He landed his big quad jumps and deserved the thunderous applause from the crowd that followed. As a former hockey player, he’s struggled with the artistic side of his skating, but he’s committed to changing that. If he keeps up the quads and makes progress with his overall presentation, it will be interesting to watch how he progresses from his eighth place finish at Worlds.”

Three years ago, after winning the gold medal at the 2013 U.S. Figure Skating Championship in Omaha, Nebraska, Aaron told JTA that he grew up looking to Jewish athletic giants for inspiration.

“I always thought the list needed to be longer. We needed to have a stronger representation of Jewish athletes, and I’m so happy to that I’m part of them now,” he said at the time.

Jason Brown, a Jewish-American skater who finished ninth at the Sochi Olympics and was fourth at the worlds event in 2015, is in training following an earlier back injury and was not part of the U.S group for the Boston Worlds Championships.

Also skating at the 2016 Worlds Championships competition was Israeli Alexei Bychenko, who in January became the first Israeli to win a medal at the European Skating Championships, where he took the silver. He finished in 13th place in Boston.

Other Israeli skaters competing in Boston were pairs skaters Adel Tankova and Evgeni Krasnopolski, and ice dancers, Isabell Tobias and Ilia Tkachenko.

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